Women’s History Month: Celebrating Solutions that Empower Survivors

Guest post by Hope Druckenmiller

March is Women’s History Month, and March 8th was International Women’s Day; both focus on celebrating the achievements of women, past and present. This month, it is also important to acknowledge the injustices women face, including human trafficking and exploitation, which are human rights violations that disproportionately affect women and girls all around the world.

During this Women’s History Month, we at Engage Together would like to take the opportunity to celebrate some of our partner businesses and organizations who have pioneered economic empowerment for survivors of human trafficking, as well as those who are continuing to do important work in this field. Their efforts have made an impact in the lives of survivors and in the fight to end human trafficking.

The business community is an important part of the conversation surrounding economic empowerment, so this month, we’d also like to highlight some resources that will help equip businesses and business leaders to end and prevent human trafficking and the exploitation of women and girls.


Partner Highlight: Businesses That Support Economic Empowerment for Survivors

As survivors of human trafficking seek employment opportunities, they can often be met with obstacles or challenges; they may not have had the opportunity to build skillsets or receive training essential to navigating today’s workforce. Organizations like the ones below recognize the importance of economic empowerment for survivors. Take a look at some of these business pioneers:

Freedom Businesses are part of a global alliance working to end human trafficking by addressing its economic roots. These businesses employ women who are survivors of human trafficking or who may be at-risk. With over 110 members in over 30 countries, they have created more than 2000 Freedom Business jobs for survivors.

Qualified is an organization that seeks to bring hope to survivors of sex trafficking by providing women with the tools, guidance, and direction they need to establish successful futures. Their solution consists of three steps: occupational therapy support; education through their Career Development Academy, and short-term mentoring partnerships. Read more about their solutions or visit their blog.

Hire Hope is a program for at-risk women that provides 35 weeks of career readiness training, paid apprenticeships, on-the-job training, and job placement opportunities. They serve survivors of domestic violence, exploitation, and human trafficking. Download their report from 2020 to learn more.

Restore NYC seeks to provide safe housing and safe jobs for survivors of trafficking. Their economic empowerment program is tailored specifically for survivors and offers entrepreneurship training as well as job readiness and placement.


Resource Highlight: Tools for Business Leaders from the AFRJ and Engage Together

If you own a company or are a business professional, you have an important role to play in the fight to end and prevent human trafficking. Whether your business is large or small, global or local, your skills and expertise are valuable and are needed in the communities where you live, work, and serve.

A great starting place for resources is the AFRJ Freedom Council, an assembly of business leaders and global companies working together to end human trafficking. Through the Freedom Council’s Business Engagement Kit, you can explore business events and resources, take the Business Pledge to End Human Trafficking, and learn how the business community is uniquely positioned to make a significant impact.

In May of 2021, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce partnered with the AFRJ Freedom Council and Randstad in a virtual panel to discuss business solutions for empowering human trafficking survivors. The panel focuses on three themes – recovery, reintegration, and resilience. You can view the virtual panel or read the accompanying article.

Another practical way to engage is to become trained, certified, and supported as a Business for Good Champion. This is a certification program developed by the AFRJ that allows business leaders to join forces with community and government efforts to end exploitation and protect the vulnerable. Registration for the Summer and Fall 2023 cohorts will open soon, so contact us today to learn more!

These resources and more are easily accessible through the Engage Together: Business Leaders page on the Engage Together website.

This month, we also want to highlight our Founder, Ashleigh Chapman, who was named one of USA Today’s Women of the Year in March 2022! This is a recognition of women across the country who have made a significant impact, and you can read Ashleigh’s interview with USA Today here.

How You Can Make a Difference: Leverage Your Power as a Consumer

Supporting survivors through economic empowerment is not limited to companies and business professionals. We encourage you to reach out to local shelters or task forces in your area to ask what opportunities and needs you can be supportive of. Whether you donate your time, talents, or expertise, you are helping build a bridge to economic opportunities for survivors.

As a consumer, there is power in what you purchase. Consider buying from a Freedom Business or exploring products made by survivors; visit our blog for a list of Freedom Businesses. You can support sustainable wages and safe living conditions by purchasing coffee and chocolate that is Fair Trade. Share this information with friends, family, and those in your circle so that together, we can be part of the solution to end human trafficking and protect the vulnerable.